Canadice Lake, whose name is derived from the Iroquois word ska-ne-a-dice meaning “Long Lake” is located just east of Hemlock Lake between Route 15A and County Road 37 in Ontario County. Despite its nickname, Canadice is not the longest of the Finger Lakes. It is just three miles long with maximum width of 0.3 miles, and is actually the smallest of the Finger Lakes. With a surface area of 649 acres and maximum depth of 95 feet, the lake is used as a water source for Rochester. Like its westerly neighbor Hemlock Lake, no houses are permitted on its shoreline – nor swimming allowed in its water – to protect quality.
At the elevation of 1,096 feet, it is the highest of the Finger Lakes. And because it is so high, the water pressure builds naturally eliminating the need for pumps to transport water to Rochester.
Canadice Lake lacks a history of development and early industry commercialization, but it was home to a travelers’ hotel in the 1860s, operated for many years by a local couple, Joel and Sally Coykendall. The establishment was well-known for its generous meals and grand parties.
Now, Canadice is often grouped together with its neighbor Hemlock, as they are both under the same nature conservancy regulations from the state and surrounded by a state forest bearing both names.
What it is Known For
The untouched shores and forests make Canadice an excellent place for nature lovers to observe bald eagles and other waterfowl in their habitats. Following the same New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regulations on boat size and motor horsepower at bigger Hemlock Lake, the restrictions create a serene atmosphere not found on many of the other Finger Lakes. Boating, hunting, hiking and other activities are allowed, though limited, so as to not compromise the water quality.
Take a hike through the thick second-growth forests up the steep banks around the lake, which are old farmland now reclaimed as forest. Look carefully above as you may spot bald eagles and waterfowl nesting, and on the ground for ruined foundations and remains of the old cottages that once dotted the shoreline (and have since been removed).